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Hamas supports new Egyptian bid for Palestinian unity

© AFP/File | Ismail Haniya, the Head of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, pictured in May 2018, says he has spoken with Egyptian intelligence about a new Egyptian-brokered push for peace

GAZA CITY (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) - 

The head of Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas announced his backing Thursday for a new Egyptian-led push for reconciliation with the rival Palestinian faction Fatah.

The office of Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said he had spoken with Egypt's intelligence head Abbas Kamel to inform him of his movement's backing for a fresh Egyptian-brokered push.

A statement from the movement said the two men discussed the "latest developments in the Palestinian issue and especially the reconciliation file and humanitarian projects for the people of the Gaza Strip."

Haniya's deputy Saleh al-Arouri led a delegation to Cairo last week. So far secularists Fatah have not officially responded to this fresh push for reconciliation.

A previous Egyptian-brokered deal, signed by Hamas and Fatah in October 2017, collapsed on implementation.

In March the head of the Fatah-dominated West Bank government survived a roadside bomb hitting his convoy in a rare visit to Gaza, with his allies later accusing Hamas of planning the attack.

It was hoped that reconciliation could alleviate humanitarian suffering in Gaza, home to some two million people.

The United Nations has signalled its support for a fresh reconciliation push, but diplomats have little optimism.

Hamas won 2006 parliamentary elections but Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah and much of the international community refused to accept the result, leading to increased strife.

A year later, Hamas violently seized control of Gaza. Since then two separate Palestinian civil administrations emerged.

© 2018 AFP